Surfing Down On The Farm
Some times a brilliant idea is worth taking the time to finish properly. Brian Wilsonâ€šÃ„Ã´s long awaited SMiLE is one such case. The story is legendary now of the back-and-forth influence The Beatles and The Beach Boys had on one another and Wilsonâ€šÃ„Ã´s efforts to craft a master opus in line with the unforgettable “Good Vibrations.” The sessions were aborted in the late sixties and many fans were left salivating at what could have been The Beach Boys answer to Sgt. Pepperâ€šÃ„Ã´s Lonely Hearts Club Band.At long last Brian Wilson has completed this long talked about gem with the help of the albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s original lyricist Van Dyke Parks and his live band The Wondermints. SMiLE is an expansive almost optimistic effort with “Good Vibrations” as the awe-inspiring culmination. Though not as peppy overall as earlier Beach Boys material such as “California Girls” or “Surfinâ€šÃ„Ã´ U.S.A.” every song overflows with contrapuntal multi-part doo-wop that made them famous. Most impressive is the bouncing (almost war-like) “Cabin Essence,” the silly cartoonish staccato keyboard of “Song For Children” and the excellent epic intro to “In Blue Hawaii.”
Two themes run through the course of the piece, one implying life on a farm (Barnyard, Vega-Tables, Mrs. Oâ€šÃ„Ã´Learyâ€šÃ„Ã´s Cow) and the other the expected summer/surfing motif. At times it even gets a little strange with tunes featuring barnyard sound effects and “Mrs. Oâ€šÃ„Ã´Learyâ€šÃ„Ã´s Cow” sounding like The Flaming Lips if they did heavy metal. However, by the opening lines of the apex “Good Vibrations” SMiLE comes across so well you nearly picture a country boy sitting on the beach in southern California marveling at the beauty before him.